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Perfect treats for your Mum this Mother’s Day and they won’t cost the earth.

Mother's Day is the perfect opportunity to spoil your Mum. She deserves it! Here are our ideas for celebrating that special day that won't cost the earth.

1. Get out and garden with her

Head off to a local nursery or garden centre and choose a new plant or flower to plant together in her garden. She will love to watch it grow and flourish and think of you.

Gardening
Family on a walk

2. Take a walk and a picnic

Go for a stroll through the beautiful countryside with your Mum and family. Escaping other distractions and spending quality time together is the perfect way to celebrate Mother's Day.

Bring a picnic along with you and find a peaceful spot to sit down and share some delicious food together.

3. Set Up Your Own Tea Party

Host an afternoon tea party and pull out any old vintage crockery you or your mum have hidden away. Make some fancy cakes, finger sandwiches and of course scones filled with plenty of clotted cream and jam.

If the weather is nice enough, move the tea party outside and enjoy the blooming flowers and blossoming trees.

Don't forget to treat your Grandma, it's her day too!

Lady holding teapot
Cocktail

4. Take Your Mum to the Theatre

There aren't many opportunities for you and your Mum to head out for an evening out together, so get dressed up and treat her to a cocktail or two.

Go to the theatre, book something local or be more adventurous and head to the West End in London.

5. Pizza Making Evening

Host a pizza night and invite others to come and make their own pizzas.

It's easier to make dough than you think, lots of recipes online. Buy tasty toppings and get the whole family involved. Perfect if you have younger siblings who'd like to celebrate with Mum too. She will love gathering the whole family together.

Pizza oven
Bridge with gate

6. Foraging

Try foraging this spring for wild garlic to make homemade pesto or elderflowers to make cordial or sparkling wine. A perfect way to spend a rewarding and productive day with your Mum and you can both reap the rewards!

7. Breakfast in Bed

Treat your Mum to a lie in on Mother's Day, tell her you've got it covered! More often than not it's your mum who's catering for everyone else needs, so pop the tea on to brew and treat her to a delight she wouldn't normally eat for breakfast. French toast is the perfect combination of savoury and sweet, ideal for a Sunday morning treat in bed.

Bed

Want to really spoil Mum?

A few days at Cosy is the perfect way to help her unwind from a hectic life. Why not treat her to a stay?

Summer Events in Wales

What’s On This Summer

There's plenty going on around Cosy Under Canvas in summer time. Apart from the amazing walks, mountain-biking, exploring the River Wye on kayak, and al fresco dining, there are some great events taking place nearby to keep you entertained.

Take a look at some of our favourite days out and events happening around Hay-on-Wye and the Brecons this summer... 

1. Thursday Markets in Hay

Hay Market opens from 10am every Thursday and bustles with shoppers checking out an array of stalls selling everything from local produce to handmade crafts.

Highlights are artisan sourdough bread, organic veg, fresh fish, handmade soaps & balms, and a fantastic array of socks.

Whether you’re looking to stock up on delicious food, or just want to people watch while enjoying a coffee and a fresh pastry, the market’s well worth a visit!

Gardens at the Hay Festival
Photo of vintage vehicles at Steam and Vintage Vehicle Rally

2. 37th Steam and Vintage Rally

Taking place on the 13th August 2017 at Boatside Farm, Hay-on-Wye, the Vintage Steam Rally is an eclectic event attracting a massive array of Steam Engines, Vintage Cars and other vehicles.

The event also showcases traditional crafts such as wood carving, cake decoration and falconry, as well as some more unexpected attractions – aerobatic displays, helicopter rides and stunt bicycle riding have all featured in the past.

3. Abergavenny Food Festival

One if the largest food events in the country, the Abergavenny Food Festival takes place on the 16th and 17th September and has established itself a reputation as a mecca for foodies – showcasing an amazing array of food and drink.

With over 200 stalls and 50 ticketed events (including demonstrations, guided wild food walks and cookery lessons), and now a night market on Saturday nights, it’s a fascinating place to explore Welsh food.

Entry cost £15 for adults and are available on the day, with children getting in for free. If you want to join in with one of the ticketed events, booking in advance is essential.

Photo of chefs serving food at Abergavenny Food Festival
Photo of the Royal Welsh

4. The Royal Welsh Show

This massive four-day event takes place on the 24th-27th July and attracts visitors from around the world to watch the competitions involving around 7,000 livestock.

There’s plenty more than animals to see, with other attractions including horticulture, crafts, food and drink – as well as a busy programme of events and displays.

Grab yourself a seat at the main ring, where the biggest competitions take place, and soak up the atmosphere, or wander the through the stands, tasting Welsh produce and exploring the array of goods on offer – from manure spreaders to sports cars!

5. Brecon County Show

If you’ve missed the Royal Welsh, the Brecon County Show takes place on the 5th August and includes a similar mix of agriculture, crafts, food and drink.

As well as Cattle, Sheep, Horse and Pony competitions, and a dog show, there are over 200 exhibitors, showcasing the best in British Farm Produce, modern and vintage vehicles, and crafts.

There’s also a busy programme of events including sheep shearing competitions, falconry and Motocross displays.

Photo of the Brecon County Show
Tents prepared for the Green Man Festival

6. Hit the Green Man festival

Green Man returns to the Black Mountains in Brecon Beacon from August 17th – 20th. It’s an independent and family-friendly summer festival in a beautiful setting with good food, art installations and bonfires setting the scene.

It’s the biggest music festival in Wales and this year’s headliners include Michael Kiwanuka, PJ Harvey, Future Islands and Kate Tempest.

7. Brecon Jazz Festival

The Brecon Jazz festival has played host to a range of jazz musicians from across the world.

In 2017, it’s taking place from the 11th to 13th August and, whilst the programme it to be announced shortly, it’s expected to include a mix of free outdoor performances from the town’s bandstand, as well as smaller shows in intimate venues.

Photo of Brecon Jazz Festival
Band at Brecon Beacon Fringe Festival

8. Brecon Fringe Festival

Also taking place in Brecon between the 10th-13th of August, the Fringe is an alternative collection of independently organised (and often free) gigs and events spread across 30 venues and crammed into 4 days!

If you like blues, rock, R&B, comedy, dance and alternative performances (as well as occasional bursts of jazz), the Fringe is not to be missed.

You’ll also find family friendly events and workshops and children’s entertainment.

9. Brecon Beacons Summer Fayre

The National Park Visitor Centre at Libanus, near Brecon hosts the tenth annual Brecon Beacons Summer Fayre from the 27th to the 29th August

You can browse an endless array of local food, arts and crafts, while children can be entertained by a range of activities including willow sculpting, badge-making, face-painting, pottery turning, a bouncy castle, and guitar and folk dancing lessons.

There’s also live entertainment taking place in the surrounding fields.

Photo of Brecon Beacons Summer Fayre
Photo of Llandovery Sheep Festival

10. Llandovery Sheep Festival

Celebrate droving, sheep farming & the wool industry at Llandovery Sheep Festival on the 23rd & 24th September.

Highlights of the weekend include the fantastic sheep race, sheep dog trials & sheep shearing demonstrations amongst other great sheep-related fun. It’s not just sheep though, with a range of competitions, local food and music providing something to entertain everyone.

11. Llandrindod Wells Victorian Festival

For a week in August, Llandrindod Well’s buildings and gardens are returned to the Victorian era - attracting around 35,000 visitors each year.

Horse and carriages and period costumes fill the town, and there’s an array of entertainment throughout the week, including concerts, costume parades and exhibitions.

Proceedings are wrapped up on Sunday with a stunning torchlight processions and firework display at the lakeside.

Photo of Victorian Costumes in Llandovery

Sound Tempting?

Our domes sleep between two & six and are available between March & October

Know Someone That Deserves A Break?

 

We’re giving away a midweek break for 2 to a deserving friend, neighbour or colleague.

Just go to our Facebook page, nominate the person you think most deserves to win a stay at Cosy Under Canvas and tell us why they should be treated to this amazing glamping experience.

The lucky winner will receive a free 2 night stay for up to 4 people in a beautiful Cosy dome with their very own wood fired hot tub.

Perhaps your nominee has been there for you in times of need, done you a favour, been an inspiration to you or just been a true friend – whatever the reason just let us know.

The competition closes on the 30th June, after which we’ll select a deserving winner.

 

Terms and Conditions

Nominate Someone for a Glamping Break Competition: 16th June – 30th June 2017

The Draw

  1. Eligibility: Prize Draw is open to UK residents aged 18 or over only excluding employees or agents of Cosy Under Canvas or any of its group companies or their families or households or anyone professionally connected to this Prize Draw.
  2. By entering this Promotion (the “Promotion”) you (the “participant”) agree to be bound by these terms and conditions.
  3. To enter go to facebook.com/cosyundercanvas between 16th and 30th June 2017 and comment on the Nominate Someone for a Glamping Break post telling us who you would nominate and why.
  4. Only comments on the Nominate Someone for a Glamping Break post will be considered as entries.
  5. You can enter only once. No purchase is necessary.
  6. The Promoter reserves the right at its absolute discretion to disqualify entries which it considers do not comply with these terms and conditions or any participant who it reasonably believes has interfered with the fair running of this Prize Draw. Abusive or obscene comments will be removed and will not be considered as entrants for the draw.
  7. Winner Selection: At the end of the Promotion Period, all entrants will be entered into a prize draw (the “Prize Draw”). The winner will be selected at random from all qualifying entries on Monday 10th July 2017 and the participant contacted via Facebook messenger to provide the winner’s address, date of birth and phone number. The participant must respond within seven days.
  8. The Promoter’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  9. There is one main prize of:
  • A 2 night mid-week stay (Monday to Thursday inclusive) for up to 4 people in a Cosy Dome in either Low, Mid or High season. Includes use of private hot tub, and a crate of firewood.
  1. The stay must be booked at least 5 days in advance, where availability of that class of accommodation exists, and in any case must be taken before the 13th October 2017.
  2. In the event that a winner or a substitute winner is unreachable, ineligible, or fails to claim the prize in the time required, the winner or substitute winner shall forfeit their prize, and another winner will be picked and contacted.
  3. The Prize carries no cash value, is non-transferable and may not be substituted by the winner. No compensation will be payable if a winner is unable to use the prize as stated. If the winner is unable to take their prize within the stated period, the Promoter reserves the right to offer the prize to another winner chosen in the same manner. The Promoter reserves the right to substitute the prize for an alternative of equal or greater value.
  4. This competition is in no way affiliated with Facebook.

Privacy and Data Protection

  1. The Promoter reserves the right to publish the names and counties of residence of the winner. The winner may be required to participate in the Promoter’s marketing and promotional activities and by entering the Prize Draw consents to such participation.
  2. The Promoter will only use the personal details supplied for the administration of the Promotion and for no other purpose, unless we have your consent. The Promoter may disclose entrants’ personal information to its contractors and agents to assist in conducting this prize draw or communicating with entrants. The participant may withdraw consent to such use of personal information by writing to the Promoter or by using the opt-out process outlined in the Promoter’s privacy policy.

General

  1. The Promoter shall not be liable for any interruption to this Prize Draw whether due to force majeure or other factors beyond the Promoter’s control.
  2. The Promoter reserves the right, acting reasonably and in accordance with all relevant legislation and codes of practice, to vary the terms and conditions of this Prize Draw.
  3. The Promoter will not be responsible or liable for:

(a) any failure to receive Entries due to transmission failures and other conditions beyond its reasonable control;

(b) any late, lost, misrouted, or damaged transmissions or entries;

(c) any computer or communications related malfunctions or failures;

(d) any disruptions, losses or damages caused by events beyond the control of the Promoter.

  1. By entering the Prize Draw, each participant, winner and any winner’s guest agrees to release the Promoter from any liability whatsoever for any claims, costs, injuries, losses, or damages of any kind arising out of or in connection with the Prize Draw or with the acceptance, possession, attendance at or use of any prize (except death or personal injury caused by the Promoter’s negligence, for fraud, or otherwise as prohibited by law).
  2. This Prize Draw is governed by English law.
Photo of Spring At Cosy under Canvas

Reasons to Get Cosy This Spring

We love Spring at Cosy Under Canvas and think there's no better time to go Glamping. Apart from the lighter evenings, fresh spring flowers - and the chance of warmer weather - here are some of our favourite reasons to visit us this Spring... 

1. Hay Festival

For 10 days in May, Hay on Wye is full of stories, ideas, laughter and music. The Hay festival runs from 25th May – 4th June 2017 and attracts the most exciting writers, filmmakers, comedians, politicians and musicians to inspire, delight and entertain.

Described by Bil Clinton as the ‘Woodstock of the mind’ it celebrates great writing from poets and scientists, lyricists and comedians, and the power of great ideas to transform our way of thinking. Find out more at www.hayfestival.com/wales/

Gardens at the Hay Festival
Go for a walk amongst stunning scenery

2. Go For a Proper Walk

With some of the most beautiful scenery in the UK on your doorstep, there’s no excuse not to have a spring in your step. There are so many opportunities for an amazing walk around Cosy Under Canvas you’d be crazy not to dust off your walking boots and enjoy the countryside.

From mountains to moorland, ridges, valleys, canal banks, rivers and woodlands we’ve got them all. We can advise on routes, mark up your map and send you off with a packed lunch.

3. Easter at Cantref

Whatever the weather there’s something entertaining for kids to do at Cantref. From animal barns and indoor play areas and animal shows, outdoor rides and paddle boats – and even a horse riding centre, you can be sure of a great day out.

From the 7th – 23rd April there are daily Easter Egg Hunts, as well as spring lamb feeding. Find out more at www.cantref.com.

Photo of kids playing at Cantref
Mountain Biking in Wales

4. Mountain Bike Heaven

The Brecon Beacons National Park is mountain bike riding at its best. 14 marked cross-country routes ranging from basic level to all-day hammer-fests.

With five different biking hubs within the national park, there’s loads to explore – the Mountain Biking the Brecon Beacons site gives you the lowdown on the different routes.

5. Royal Welsh Spring Festival

The 20th  & 21st May play host to this celebration of rural life. With a busy programme of entertainment and educational activities, free workshops, displays and main ring performances, the festival makes a great day out for all the family.

With over 1,300 livestock, poultry and horses, the only Premier Open Dog Show to be held in Wales, children’s activities, a food and drink quarter, vintage machinery, auction, country leisure there’s plenty to do. And on Saturday they’ll be open late, allowing you to listen to local bands, taste the street-food and enjoy the early summer’s evening.

Photo of the Royal Welsh Spring Festival

6. Star Gazing In The Dark Sky Reserve

Light pollution across the UK creates real challenges for people wanting to see the wonders of the night sky in its full glory. The Brecon Beacons’ small population means that the area does not suffer from light pollution and has, in fact, been designated a ‘Dark Sky Reserve’.

As the weather brings clearer skies, it’s the perfect time to see the wonders of the spring sky.

7. Ludlow Spring Festival

With Ludlow’s fantastic reputation for good food and drink, it’s not surprising that their Spring Festival is well worth a visit.

Taking place from the 13th – 14th May 2017, the festival features over 60 local food and drink producers and 200 real ales, as well as live music and over 180 classic cars.

Photo of Ludlow Spring Festival
Fly Fishing In Wales

8. Go Adventure Fly Fishing With The Wye And Usk Passport.

The fly fishing season begins on March 3rd on both the River Usk and River Wye, and as the spring days warm up, the emergence of flies from mid-March makes for some great sport.

The Wye and Usk Foundation have spent many years opening up the small tributaries that flow in to the two main rivers and in doing so they have created many more fishing opportunities in some exciting and quite remote spots.

You can buy day tickets and get instructions on how to find the wild streams at www.fishingpassport.co.uk/

Sound Tempting?

Our domes sleep between two & six and are available between March & October

Rainy day in Wales

Things to do when it rains

We would love to order sunshine for everyone but the reality is that sometimes in Wales it rains!

Here are a few suggestions just in case you find yourself here on a rainy day.

In Hay on Wye

Trawl the bookshops, there were 25 at the last count, have a leisurely lunch in Booths followed by a sheeps milk ice cream at Shepherds

Check what’s on at the cinema at Booths Bookshop Cinema. A fabulously small, 50 seat venue and you can take in a glass of wine! Call them on 01497 820322

Pop into the Globe at Hay – during the school holidays they often have organised activities for children. If not, grab yourself a coffee and a board game to while away an hour or two.  01497 821762

Within a few miles

Rope course at Llangorse Activity Centre
Llangorse Activity Centre

Llangorse Rope and Activity Centre – fun for all the family, try an assault course, the high ropes course, horse riding, climbing, BMX track racing or a dingle scramble.  0333 6002020

Swimming at Cloud 9 Spa, Kington – newly renovated small spa/pool in Kington. Around £15 for a family swimming session. 01544 230323

The Judges Lodging, Presteigne – Step into the 1870s at the award-winning Judge’s Lodging and discover the world of a most unusual household. Explore the ‘upstairs, downstairs’ life of the Victorian Judges, their servants and felonious guests. Fascinating and well worth a visit whatever the weather. 01544 260650

In and around Hereford

Hereford Cathedral
The knave of Hereford Cathedral

Ten pin bowling and crazy golf at MFA Bowl – 0843 2908944

Hereford Cathedral, the Mappa Mundi and Chained Library – The award-winning Mappa Mundi & Chained Library Exhibition is open all year round and is famous for housing both the spectacular medieval map of the world and the cathedral’s unique Chained Library.  01432 374200

Hampton Court Castle, Parkland and Gardens – spectacular castle and grounds open April til October. If the rain eases you can pop outside the castle and walk the woodland trails or get lost in the maze.  01568 797676

Eastnor Castle – A fun family day out, the castle is open to visitors from Easter to the end of September on selected days with a line-up of great value events. This historic house is filled with medieval armour and fine art and in the beautiful grounds you will find an arboretum, lake, knight’s maze and children’s adventure playground.  01531 633160.

Other suggestions

big-pit
Big Pit, National Coal Museum

Spaceguard Centre Knighton – The Spaceguard Centre is the National Near Earth Objects Information Centre (NNEOIC), and is the only organisation in the UK dedicated to addressing the hazard of Near Earth Objects. The Spaceguard Centre runs regular tours of the observatory. Hear about Spaceguard and learn something about the wonders of the Solar System. 01547 520247

National Trust Properties – There are three main properties in the area; Croft Castle and Parkland, Berrington Hall and Brockhampton Estate.

Blaenavon World heritage Site – The Blaenavon World Heritage Centre is the ideal starting point for your visit to the area. It provides an overview of how the stories of Blaenavon Industrial Landscape are of global importance.

Big Pit: National Coal Museum is the most popular attraction within the Blaenavon World Heritage Site. The museum is based around the former Big Pit Colliery, which was sunk in about 1860 and closed in 1980. The site reopened as a museum in 1983 and is now known around the world, especially after winning the Gulbenkian Prize for museum of the year in 2005.  029 2057 3650

 

Or just pull on those waterproofs and walk by the river, through a woodland or up a mountain anyway!

 

Stay Cosy and Warm outside

8 Tips to Staying Cosy Outside

Us Brits love talking about the weather but the reality is that in the UK we generally have it pretty easy: not too hot in summer and not too cold in winter.

But it’s those in-between nights that can catch you out when you’re camping or glamping.

We’re big believers in keeping cosy, so we’ve put together eight top tips on how you can keep warm when you’re enjoying the outdoors…

1.    Layer UpWear lots of layers

You may well have heard this before, but one trick to staying comfortable whatever the weather is layers.

Different layers work brilliantly at trapping warm air and keeping you snug and are also more practical.

One big fleece only gives your internal thermostat 2 options – uncomfortably hot or cold.

Lots of layers means you can fine tune your temperature so you’re always just right.

 

2.    Fuel your fire

Your body is like a furnace, producing heat through activity and chemical reactions and, like any furnace, it needs fuel.

Making sure that you eat and drink enough has a big impact on your core temperature, but the foods that you choose can help as well.

When the temperature drops don’t be tempted to fill your tummy with rich and creamy foods, superfoods – packed with nutrients and antioxidants are all that your body needs to keep you toasty.

  • Try oats in a warming bowl of porridge, oats are a whole grain with huge amounts of protein.
  • Snuggle up with a hot chocolate and add a couple of squares of dark chocolate – it’s packed with antioxidants.
  • Heat up your core with a spicy chilli. The peppers and chilli help boost metabolism and fight fat.

 

3.    Don’t sit on the GroundSit on a log, chair or mat

If you’re sitting on the ground or on a rock, your precious body heat is being absorbed away from you.

You lose heat through conduction whenever your body comes into direct contact with something cold.

So, sitting on a log, chair, mat or a fluffy sheepskin will all help you stay warmer for longer.

 

4.    Avoid cotton base layers

Base layers (the layer of clothing you wear next to your skin) are really important in keeping you warm and dry – their most important function is to move moisture away from your skin so that you stay warm.

Whilst most people might just throw on a favourite t-shirt, cotton is (surprisingly) the worst choice for a base layer – it absorbs a lot of water quickly and takes ages to dry.

You’ll be fine on a summer’s day, but wearing cotton next to your skin in cold, wet conditions is a bad choice.

Instead choose man-made fibres that are hydrophobic (meaning that they repel water and usually wick moisture away quickly) or, if you can, go for Merino wool.

It has excellent wicking abilities and can absorb a high quantity of water before it feels cold and damp.

 

5.    Protect your extremities

When our core temperature drops, our bodies’ main goal is to keep our vital organs warm. To help this, it reduces the blood flow to our extremities to increase the blood and heat flow to more essential areas.

A hat, decent socks and a good pair of gloves (or even better, mittens – which allow your fingers to warm each other) will help keep you snug. A scarf is also great as the blood vessels in your neck run close to the surface which means heat is lost more quickly.

Because your body will ‘sacrifice’ your extremities to keep your vital organs warm, if your hands or feet are cold, it can be a sign that you’re not doing a good enough job at keeping your whole body warm. So, if your hands or legs start to feel chilly, it might be a good idea to add another layer too.

 

6.    Choose a Breathable, Windproof Jacket

Ever emerged from an outdoor swim and shivered in a light breeze/ When your skin gets wet and is exposed to wind, it cools down up to four times faster than when you are dry.

A good windproof jacket will stop all the lovely warm air that your body is heating up from being stripped away. Choose a jacket that’s breathable and it means that excess moisture can evaporate and escape too.

 

7.    Don’t get too hot

We’re all for keeping cosy, but it’s worth making sure you don’t get TOO hot.

As physical activity increases so does the amount of heat your body produces, causing you to sweat. Once sweaty you’ll get cold much more quickly when you stop moving.

As you warm up, open venting zips or take off a layer or two, this will help you sweat less and help the moisture evaporate quickly.

Equally, when you stop being active, or sit down at the end of a long day, put on an extra layer to make sure you don’t start to get cold.

We’re big fans of Welsh Blankets which are great to wrap up in when you’re sat under the stars at night.

 

8.    Beware of booze

A hot toddy may warm your cockles, but it’s only good for you at the right time.

Alcohol does have a warming effect and the resulting rosy cheeks are because of ‘vasodilation’ – when blood vessels widen and circulation increases.

A nice warming brandy, or glass of red is great if you are inside wearing dry clothing and trying to warm up, but when you’re outside – widening blood vessels will encourage heat loss.

 

“There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.” – Sir Ranulph Fiennes

 

Got any tips you’d add? Get in touch and let us know.

Our amazing Domes include a private campfire, and a wood burner that will keep you snug whatever the weather – book your stay now.

The Perfect Hot Chocolate

As we say hello to Autumn and evenings draw in, it’s the perfect time to think about hot chocolate. There’s nothing quite like it when there’s a bit of a chill in the air and you’re looking for something cosy, comforting and sweet to drink.

We’ve spent a little time experimenting with what makes a perfect hot chocolate. It’s been tough but here are our thoughts…

The Chocolate

Whilst many of us might reminisce fondly of Cadbury’s drinking chocolate, Jacques Torres, Master Chocolatier, Pastry Chef and ‘Mr Chocolate’ is pretty unequivocal:

“You cannot make good hot chocolate if you don’t start with good chocolate”

Whilst you might think that turning it into hot chocolate would be a waste of quality chocolate, adding warm milk to chocolate actually means that a chocolate’s unique flavours come through even more –  so it’s worth being a bit choosy over your ingredients.

If you’re going to use powder for your drink, try to find one that uses chocolate, rather than cocoa powder. Cocoa powder is the waste ingredient from the chocolate manufacturing process and is less flavourful than real chocolate.

Alternatively, you could use flakes, beads or even chunks of chocolate. Whilst these take a little longer to melt it means you’ll have a much wider choice of chocolates to use, and these tend to give a richer drink.

Whether you choose milk or dark chocolate is down to personal taste. We’ve been trying a few different ingredients and rather like these:

  • Cadbury’s Drinking Chocolate: Chocolate snobs might look down their nose. It is very sweet, but it’s also full of childhood memories!
  • Prestat Velvety Milk Hot Chocolate Flakes: Nice and creamy, and with 33% cacao still pretty smooth
  • Hans Sloane Milk Drinking Chocolate: Award-winning chocolate beads that give an intense flavour – without bitterness
  • Charbonnel and Walker ‘The Chocolate Drink’: Flakes of 51% cacao that create a rich, slightly vanilla, and very tasty, drink (comes in a nice tin too!).
  • Hasslachers Hot Drinking Chocolate: For those that like a bit more bite, these gourmet 100% cacao chocolate discs give an amazing rich dark flavour, but most people will want some added sugar to avoid it being overly bitter.

Some of our favourite hot chocolates

The Milk

Whilst it’s tempting to try and avoid some calories, we don’t believe there’s room for cutting corners when it comes to hot chocolate – skimmed or semi-skimmed milk just doesn’t taste right. Go the whole hog and use full fat milk.

In fact, if you’re in the mood for extra luxury using a 5:1 ratio of milk to single cream, it’s the perfect partner to a darker chocolate.

Extras

There’s endless ways to enhance hot chocolate from a hint of spice to a splash of booze. Here are a few ideas:

Marshmallows: A hot chocolate staple! Marshmallows add a little texture, sweetness and vanilla flavour. Whether you leave them to melt or eat them straight away is a personal choice

Alcohol: If you want to add to the warming effect, a splash of dark or spiced rum, brandy or Grand Marnier will give you a rosy glow

Sugar: If your chocolate’s on the bitter side (or you just have a sweet tooth) a spoonful of brown sugar works a treat and adds a more caramel flavour than regular white sugar.

Spice: Nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, salt and pepper are all recommended by various hot chocolate connoisseurs. Experiment to see what suits your taste, but we did find that a small pinch of sea salt gave a bit of a lift – particularly with the darker chocolate

Chilli: Used to flavour chocolate since Mayan times. If you like a bit of heat, add a chilli to infuse as you heat your milk

Extra Cream: Adding cold whipped cream to the hot chocolate really tops off the luxury!

Method

Heat up your milk slowly (whether on a campfire or hob) stirring frequently to make sure it doesn’t burn. Try not to boil the milk to avoid impairing the flavour (or, even worse, burning the chocolate).

If you’ve got a whisk or frother to hand, whisking the milk up adds a lovely velvety texture.

Add your preferred chocolate to your mug (it’s hard to add ‘too much’, so better to be safe than sorry!) and mix in a little bit of hot milk, stirring until you’ve got a smooth paste.

Our perfect hot chocolate

Top up with more milk and finish off with the extras that take your fancy: we vote for a small pinch of sea salt, whipped cream and marshmallows. Then sit back and enjoy.

 

What do you think makes a perfect hot chocolate? Let us know

 

It might not surprise you to learn that we’re convinced hot chocolate tastes best when enjoyed in the open air, wrapped up in a cosy Welsh blanket in front of a glowing camp fire.

Book one of our gorgeous domes and try for yourself!

 

How to light a campfire

Glamping just isn’t Glamping without your very own campfire and here at Cosy Under Canvas there’s a private fire pit for you to enjoy right in front of your dome.

Fire seems to have a magnetic, hypnotic power that attracts us, giving us a connection with nature and a focal point to huddle around in the evenings. It’s a source of heat, a fuel for cooking – as well as being an important tool for survival.

So, prepare yourself for Glamping and learn the best way to light a fire – even if it’s just so you can toast marshmallows!

Place your fire

The spot for your fire should be away from trees, brush, overhanging branches and anything that could potentially catch flame and spread.

Fire-in-a-great

Build your fire on a gravel, dirt or sand surface, shielded away from potential wind and weather.

If you’ve a grassy surface, cut out a square of turf out and roll it up. Building the fire on the ground underneath will keep the grass from getting scorched and mean you can repair the grass when the fire’s cooled.

To help protect the fire from the weather, it helps to dig a slight shallow or pit and surround it with rocks. The rocks stop the fire spreading and help absorb and reflect the heat.

 

Get the right fuel

You’ll ideally need three types of fuel for your fire: Tinder, Kindling and Wood:

Tinder

Every good campfire starts with good tinder – something that catches fire easily, but burns fast.

Dry leaves, dry bark, wood shavings, paper, dry grass or moss, and some fluffy fungi make for good tinder.

If the weather’s bad you’ll need to work a bit harder (wet tinder doesn’t catch fire so well), but even in heavy rain or snow, you’ll still be able to find dry wood inside standing, dead trees and branches. Birch trees in particular, yields paper-like bark that, even when wet, often makes an excellent tinder.

If you’re the well-prepared type, you can bring your own tinder in the form of dryer lint or homemade char cloth.

Kindling

Tinder burns fast, so you’ll need something with more substance to keep your flame going. You can’t move directly to big logs – you’ll just smother your new flame, and that’s where kindling comes in.

Kindling usually consists of small twigs and branches. You’re ideally looking for something that’s about the width of a pencil. Like tinder, kindling needs to be dry or else it won’t burn easily.

If the weather’s bad, you can produce kindling from the dry center of dead trees and branches.

Wood

Wood is what keeps your fire hot and burning. You don’t have to go for the huge logs you use in a fireplace – if you go too big, it’s going to take a long time for the wood to catch fire. Look for branches that are about as wide as your wrist or your forearm – at least until the fire is burning strongly.

Aim for a manageable length and split larger logs into fourths. This helps expose the dry center to the flames while creating more exposed
angles from which fire can catch. Round logs coated in wet bark will be reluctant to light and burn.

Chopped-logs

When gathering wood for a fire, remember dry wood burns the best. If the area is damp, check the interior of logs, under ledges, and other places that are protected from damp.

Unlike tinder and kindling, once the fire’s established, fuel wood can be a little damp. The fire will dry it out, but it’s still not ideal and you’ll get a lot of smoke.

 

Build your fire

So you’ve got your raw materials but how do you make sure they successfully light?

There are lots of ways to lay your fire, but we’d suggest one of the two most common types:

Teepee Fire Lay

This is basically a pyramid shape. Start with your tinder pile in the centre of your fireplace, and then form a teepee with your smaller kindling.

Leave an opening in your teepee on the side the wind is blowing against. This allow you to light the tinder, and ensure that your fire gets the air it needs.

Sitting-around-a-campfire

Add additional layers of kindling to the teepee, working your way up to pencil sized twigs, and then create a larger teepee structure around your kindling with your logs.

When you light the fire, the flames are directed upward from the tinder, lighting the kindling and then the wood. The structure will eventually fall, and then you can just add more logs.

Lean-to Fire Lay

Stick a long piece of kindling into the ground at about a 30-degree angle – the end of the stick should be pointing into the wind. Place your tinder under the stick and place some small pieces of kindling around your tinder nest.

Prop small pieces of kindling against the stick stuck in the ground and then add another layer with larger pieces of kindling.

 

Lighting up

When you’re ready to light your fire, position yourself between the wind and your fire, to act as a windbreak to make sure wind doesn’t blow out your fire before it holds,

Light the upwind side of your tinder so the wind blows the flame into the fuel.

If you’re using a match, hold it in place – don’t just toss it on the tinder or you’ll use up a lot of matches.

If you’ve not got a lighter or match to hand, don’t despair, there are lots of other ways to start a fire…

Flint & steel

A flint is a great standby on a camping trip in case your matches get wet, but you can get a spark from putting steel to a piece of flint whatever the weather.

You can use a flint and steel set, or improvise using quartzite and a steel blade. The idea is to scrape the steel hard down the flint which will create hot sparks. Catch the sparks in tinder and blow on it to start a flame.

Lighting-with-a-flint

Rather than relying on tinder to catch the sparks, you might find char useful. Char is cloth that has been turned into charcoal. It catches a spark and keeps it smoldering without bursting into flames – giving you a better opportunity to transfer it to your tinder and blow on it to start a flame.

Magnifying glass

Using a lens to start a fire is pretty easy, providing the sun is shining strongly. Any lense will do the trick, a magnifying glass, eyeglasses, or binocular lenses all work.

Angle the lens towards the sun in order to focus the beam into as small an area as possible. Put your tinder nest under this spot and you’ll soon have yourself a fire.

There are few strange, but effective lens-based methods to start a fire as well if a magnifying glass isn’t to hand:

  • By filling a balloon with water, you can transform these ordinary objects into fire creating lenses. Tie off the end and make it as spherical as possible. Squeeze the balloon to find a shape that gives you a sharp circle of light. Balloons both have a shorter focal length than an ordinary lens so you’ll need to hold them 1 to 2 inches from your tinder.
  • You can actually make fire from a piece of ice. You’ll need clear ice about 4cm thick shaped into a lense shape. Polish it smooth with the heat from your hands and then use it just like a magnifying glass. Focus the beam of light on your tinder nest and watch as you make fire from ice!
  • If you’ve got a coke can, the curved bottom can also work if polished to a shine. Strangely, rubbing chocolate or toothpaste on the bottom works beautifully in bringing up a shine. After polishing the bottom of your can, you’ll have a parabolic mirror. Sunlight will reflect off the bottom of the can, forming a single focal point.

Battery

If you find yourself in the strange situation where you don’t have matches, but you have a battery and some steel wool, there’s another way of lighting a fire. A 9-volt battery will work best but any battery will do,

Stretch out the steel wool into a strip and rub the battery’s contacts down the wool. The wool will begin to glow and burn. Gently blow on it and transfer the burning wool to your tinder nest. Be quick though as the wool’s flame will go out quickly

Wood

Probably the oldest way of starting a fire, but probably also the most difficult, so you’ll need to be feeling confident (or desperate) and have lots of time and patience.

Most important is the type of wood. It needs to be capable of creating an ember under friction and so needs to be bone dry. Cottonwood, juniper, aspen, willow, cedar, cypress, and walnut are best for the job.

Perfect-fire

There are a few different techniques you can use, but all aim to create sufficient friction between two pieces of wood to create a glowing ember that can start a flame:

  • The hand drill method is the most straightforward but the trickiest – taking a fair amount of effort. Take a flat piece of wood and make a small depression in it. Find a second piece of wood about 60cm long to use as a spindle and insert it into the depression. Marinating a downward pressure, roll the spindle between your hands, running them quickly down the spindle. As an ember forms tap it into your tinder nest to create the flame and gently blow on it to build it up.
  • Alternatively, you can use a fire plough. This time, cut a groove in a flat piece of wood to make a track for your spindle. Put your tinder at the end of the groove so you’ll push the embers you’re creating into it and then simply rub the tip of the spindle up and down the groove. Once you catch an ember, blow the nest gently and get the fire going.
  • The bow drill is similar to the hand drill, but in addition to the spindle and flat wood, you’ll also need a socket and a bow. The socket is a stone or piece of wood used to put pressure on the top of the spindle as you’re turning it with the bow. Find a piece of flexible wood that has a slight curve for the bow. The string can be anything: a shoelace, rope or string – just find something that won’t break. String up your bow and catch the spindle in a loop of the bow string. Place one end of the spindle in the depression in the flat wood and apply pressure on the other end with your socket. Start sawing back and forth with the bow and your spindle should be rotate quickly. Keep sawing until you create an ember.

 

Building higher

Once your fire is lit, you’ll need to add wood to keep it going strongly. Remember to leave space between pieces of wood for air to flow and feed the fire

Build up, not out – creating a higher pile of wood rather than a flatter pile will help it burn better.

Campfire-cooking

If you want to test out your fire-making skills, all of our luxurious domes have their own private fire pit – perfect for campfire cooking, or just cosying up around in one of our traditional Welsh Blankets. Book your stay now.

Welsh Blankets

The beauty of Welsh Blankets

As you might have guessed, we’re big fans of being cosy. Our domes are furnished with lovely sheepskins and snuggly feather duvets – and also gorgeous Welsh blankets.

These beautiful blankets are a perfect balance of contemporary and traditional and are perfect to snuggle under on a Welsh evening if it gets a little chilly - so we thought it'd be good to find out a bit more about them.

Welsh blankets (or ‘tapestry blankets’ to give them their technical name)  are made using a traditional double-cloth construction that hasn’t changed much since the mid 1880s. This double-cloth structure creates practical and hard-wearing blankets, as well as allowing for the bold reversible patterns, that Welsh Blankets have become famous for.

You’ve probably heard that Wales has a lot of sheep – in fact around four sheep for every human.  It’s no surprise then that wool was historically one of the largest and most important of Wales’ industries.

Whilst they were originally woven by hand, over the 18th and 19th Centuries wool mills throughout Wales made use of this plentiful supply of wool, producing cloth and flannel that were then sold at home and exported through England.

The earliest blankets were usually made on a single loom and consisted of two narrow widths of fabric joined down the centre by hand. Blankets with this central seam usually date from before 1910.

Range of Melin Tregwynt Welsh Blankets

After this date, wider looms tended to be used – part of a government initiative that relocated technology discarded by the quickly expanding Yorkshire mills to Wales. These new looms allowed each side of the blanket to be made in a single piece.

Early Welsh Blankets had characteristically coarse texture. Harsh environments and irregular diets meant the Welsh sheep produce a comparatively rough fleece which was reflected in the graininess of many blankets.

Today’s blankets have lost their ‘grittiness’ as the quality of fleeces has improved, but the traditional designs, strong colours and traditional manufacturing techniques live on.

The designs used in Welsh blankets are similar in some ways to Scottish tartans. Although the patterns used don’t represent different clans, they are completely unique to Wales and each mill had its own distinct designs. Although the identities of many of the original historic makers of Welsh blankets have been lost, each manufacturer continues to use their own distinct styles, patterns and colours.

There was a surge in interest in Welsh Tapestry during the 1960 and 1970s when the distinctive two-tone cloth was made into a wide range of fashion designs.

The bright geometric designs perfectly fitted the style of the period that loved clashing colours with coats, jackets, skirts, hats, handbags and purses all created in amazingly bright patterns of purple & teal, brown & orange and green & red.

Nothing screams the sixties quite like a Welsh wool tapestry cape, mini skirt and knee-high boots - and Mary Quant was known to make trips to Wales to source cloth for her fashion house.

Demand fell off sharply from that heyday however and the recession of the 1980’s forced many of the mills to close: Of the 300 mills in Cardiganshire in 1895, now just four remain

Demand for traditional Welsh blankets is now on the rise again, So, what’s caused this renewed interest? As well as a renewed interest in Welsh culture, today’s consumers are more and more rejecting the cheap and mass-produced, instead rediscovering the longevity, provenance and craftsmanship that these blankets bring – as well as the range of beautiful designs.

Welsh tapestry in fashion

All of Cosy Under Canvas' domes are furnished with beautiful Melin Tregwynt Welsh blankets to make sure you're always snug, whatever the weather. Why not come and stay and try them out for yourself?

Want one of your own? Well, our sister company, Life Under Canvas, sells a range of beautiful Welsh blankets.

Glamping in Luxury

8 Reasons to come Glamping at Cosy Under Canvas

There are all sorts of reasons that our guests come to Cosy Under Canvas, but we thought we'd share just a few of our favourites.

1. Unwind

Rediscover ‘getting away from it all’. At Cosy Under Canvas we’re off grid and there’s no wifi so you can leave the screens at home.

Don’t worry you’ll soon find that without the distractions of modern day living, you celebrate the ancient arts of talking, laughing and playing – bringing a whole different type of connection.

Unwind in front of a camp fire
Snuggle up in comfy bedding

2. Snuggle up

Camping here doesn’t mean damp and chilly even in our changeable climate.

At Cosy Under Canvas it’s proper comfy beds, cosy & contemporary Welsh blankets, fluffy sheepskins underfoot and wood burning stoves to keep you toasty. You’ll be warm and dry whatever the weather.

3. Campfire cooking

Unleash that inner ‘hunter gatherer’ and cook over a roaring campfire. It’s back to basics made easy here at Cosy Under Canvas.

Everything you need to light a fire is provided, so try one of our tasty ‘one pot’ recipes or flame grill a local steak & serve with griddled veg.

Delicious cooking on a campfire
Glamping with everything you need

4. Everything’s provided

No lugging tents, sleeping bags and equipment with you or panic pitching before night falls.

There’s a warm welcome here whenever you arrive and everything you need will be waiting for you to enjoy.

5. The little extras

We’ve thought of everything to get you back to nature in comfort and style.

Spacious Domes, personal toiletries, real coffee, private fire pits and steamy hot tubs mean you don’t have to rough it.

Lots of thoughtful extras

6. Star gazing

Cosy Under Canvas is miles from the nearest city so the Welsh night skies take on a life of their own. There’s no light pollution so clear nights offer the most stunning canopy of stars.

Sitting round the fire in the evening it’s easy to lose yourself gazing skyward – and what’s more amazing than spotting a shooting star.

7. Breathe…

Cosy Under Canvas is in some of the most breathtaking scenery in the UK. Climb the highest mountain in South Wales or just stroll out of your door and within minutes you will find yourselves high up on common land with views to die for.

Breathe that country air, take in the views and you’ll find you sleep just like the log you sat on round the campfire!

Breathe in amazing countryside
Relax in chilled out hot tubs

8. And Relax…

Enjoy the peace and tranquillity of our stunning natural setting.

Soak away the stress in your own wood-fired hot tub, relax round the camp fire, or lounge in a hammock. There’s really no excuse not to enjoy some ‘me time’.

Sound Tempting?

Our domes sleep between two & six and are available between March & October